More Quilts

Again I apologize for the clipped edges and odd angles of the quilt photos. At the Cumberland Quilt Show, I was trying to snap pictures over people’s heads, and to isolate some quilts that were hanging close to others.

The quilt below is a bargello, showing yet again the many possibilities of this art. Notice how the strips are narrower as the design is close to the peaks and valleys and wider as the curve is not as steep.

In the small works group, the challenges may vary. In the next two quilts, done by the same person, the challenge was to incorporate five circles and the element of water. These houses are on the canals of Amsterdam.

The quilt below has many textures, stitch types, piecing, and applique. The challenge was to tell a story. This one is of collecting things, an activity the quilter and the chickadee have in common.

Painting with thread? Who would have thought it possible? Add the geometric design that evolves from the direction and path of the thread and you have a wonderful work of art.

Dandelions can be beautiful too. This one involved a lot of tying off of threads at the ends of each “fuzz.” Notice the centers of some of the flowers. Those are buttons. When they are fastened to the back of the fabric it creates a tiny 3-D effect.

 

Have I inspired you yet to try your hand at quilting?

Quilt Show in Cumberland, BC

The local quilting guild  put on a quilt show on the long weekend in May. I tried to snap a few pictures and here are four of them.  Some of the visitors inadvertently became part of this post. Hard to take a picture of the quilts in a crowded room. More photos to come in future blog posts.

This sailboat quilt has many different designs for the sails. Maybe, like me, you hadn’t noticed that at first?

The quilt shown below, with the tiny squares, is driving me crazy. I keep trying to figure out where the pattern begins and ends. Is it the four-square surrounded by the border of 12 little squares? But where do they begin or end?

Anyone who likes to read would love to have this bookshelf quilt hanging on their wall.

And then there is Gladys’s 150th birthday quilt of Canada’s provincial flowers. If you’ve forgotten which provinces the flowers represent, there is a link to click  which will take you back to a post in which this quilt was still a work in progress. Gladys has quilted maple leaf motifs all around the edge of the quilt in variegated metallic thread. Beautiful job!

For a close up look at the quilting on this one, click  the link below:

https://wordsfromanneli.com/2017/03/02/canadas-150-years/

Learning to Quilt

After finishing three bags at the quilting retreat, I was looking through some red scraps and found this elephant. I was about to cut the material up to make a bag with an elephant on one side when my quilting buddy suggested I make a coffee table topper.  She has a good eye for possibilities and suggested the corners to accent the center. It was also her idea for me to make a flange. 

I had never made a flange before, and in case you don’t see it, it’s the narrow dark border around the elephant square. The really neat thing about a flange is that this little trim lifts up and has a 3-D look. My free motion quilting is still … let’s say … in its developmental stage, but I had fun sewing swirly elephant-trunk-like designs all over the work. In the end, I was happy I didn’t make yet another bag out of this elephant.

Bags, Bags, Bags

I promised I would share what we made at the quilting retreat. I’m very much a beginning quilter, so I hesitate to show what I was working on. But the saying goes, “Save the best for last,” so I thought I’d start with my own project(s) and work up to what some of the experts sewed in another post.

I still have plenty of scraps to work with so I brought the cut out squares and strips with me to the retreat. I only broke two needles this time, sewing through the heavy layers in the corner seams. Less than one needle per bag. Getting better!

Future bags may be a variation of these, maybe with squares on the bottom too. Not sure yet.

What are they good for? In my case, I use one of these bags as a purse because they hold a lot (of my important junk). Most other people might use them to carry books to their book club meeting, carry slippers to a friend’s house when they go to dinner and want to change shoes, carry a camera and a notebook for a hike or photo outing, carry a sandwich and a bottle of water — the list is endless. It just depends on your lifestyle and special needs and hobbies.

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Some people at the retreat made much fancier bags than these and it got me thinking about finding new designs for my next bags.

Meanwhile, I made the top layers of two coffee table “runners.” I’ll do a post about those when I get the batting and backing on them and finish quilting the layers together.

In the next post I hope to show you some of the projects the expert quilters worked on. Their sewing skills are amazing.

It’s in the Bag

After an all-day sewing lesson to learn how to make a tote bag, I came home with the green bag you see below.

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I thought I’d make another one very similar to the green one and give it away as a Christmas gift. Two bags done. Then the quilting retreat was coming up and I needed a project. Two more bags were made. Then I made a third peach-coloured bag but this time I made it smaller. That was fun.

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Now I was feeling braver and it was taking half as long to make them. The blue bag was smaller and has a flap with a button. But don’t be fooled. The button is just for decoration. There is no buttonhole underneath, but rather Vel-cro to fasten the flap. The button was made by the Captain from the antlers of a deer he shot about 40 years ago.

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I experimented and made a different kind of bag (below), also with a fake button from a real deer.

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Someone special mentioned that she would love to have a bag like the blue one but smaller, so this next one was a bit of a challenge. I’m happy with how it turned out though. I’d now made a total of eight bags, some small, some medium, and some large.

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Two more bags happened after that one.

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I’ll probably make more because they’re fun to sew and easy to make. You might say I’ve turned into a bag lady.

Quilts with Appliqué

At the quilt show I saw over a hundred beautiful quilts, but of course I can’t load on 100 photos, nor would anyone want to look at that many, so I chose some of the quilts that appealed to me the most. I happen to love appliqué and one-of-a kind quilts made from someone’s imagination. Not all of these quilts are unique, but many are. To see some of the special features up close you may have to click on the photo to magnify it.

The eagle quilt has two features that I found interesting. One is that the tip of one wing is loose and actually flying off the quilt. The wing feathers are individual pieces of fabric. For the back feathers, a lot of quilting (sewing on top of the material) gives the impression of feather shapes. The second special feature is in the quilting itself. Notice how the surface of the water has waves sewn into it. The water that is closer to us has the waves wider apart and then as we look at the distant water, the sewing lines are tighter and seem to make a ripple in the water.

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This one is an African village done with typically “African” print fabric. The background is pieced together with small squares, but then the village and its people are cut out of separate pieces and sewn on top (appliquéd): Each of the dresses and bodies of the people are cut out and stitched on top. I liked this one because it reminded me of a Brueghel painting, African style.

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Anything from the sea is all right by me.

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The beauty of appliqué – you can put your cut out pieces anywhere you want. These fish are “out of the tank.” It makes them look as if they are just arriving to join the others. Lots of action here.

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The shaping of the moose, making it appear to be 3-D, is done with various tones of brown. Each piece is sewn on separately. A lot of work! And look at the many tree trunks sewn into the background.

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My favourite little birds. Quail and their babies. Each piece done separately and stitched on.

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I had a close look at the turtle at the bottom of the quilt. It’s odd-shaped sections are sewn on top of the lighter green. The jellyfish are extraordinary with streamers of fancy threads sewn on with yet other fancy threads.

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In case you’re a landlubber, I put in one quilt that shows a land-based scene.Once you start looking, you’ll see more and more things that you might have missed at first glance. How many hedgehogs do you see?

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Sewing Machines

Making quilts was once thought to be an activity for old ladies, but that is changing. Younger people are getting interested in quilting too. In the old days, usually the quilts were practical—made for bed covers or for wrapping up in to keep warm. Nowadays quilts are more artistic and some are only meant to be displayed on a wall.

At the quilt show in Parksville on Vancouver Island last weekend, a friend and I admired many quilts of various styles and types. Most were newly made but, pictured below in the heritage section, are three quilts made in a very basic, old-fashioned way, with much of the sewing done by hand. One of the quilts was made 125 years ago. The old quilts had a lot of hand sewing on them, but there were early models of sewing machines on display to show what quilters might have used from the early 1900s on.

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This Singer from 1912 was operated by turning the wheel by hand. This was awkward because it left the seamstress only one hand to hold pieces of cloth together and guide them under the needle.

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Later Singer models used a long belt around that “drive” wheel and another wheel under the machine. The belt was driven by a rocking action by the feet on the treadle. Hence, your treadle sewing machine. Who needs a treadmill when you have a treadle sewing machine? And it leaves your hands free to guide the fabric.084

Then came the electric machines. Heaven! This Bernina is quite basic, but this company still makes one of the finest sewing machines available. They have the latest, fanciest machines you could wish for, and models for all levels of sewing abilities and needs.085

These two Singers below are the kind you turn by hand. If you can’t find the second machine, it’s tiny, brown, and tied to the handle of the old wagon next to the washboard.

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And for serious quilters, we have the quilting machines that allow a lot more room to the right of the needle for that huge quilt to be passed through the machine. There are also commercial grade long arm quilting machines, but most home quilters find a way to work with a regular sewing machine. Take your choice.092In the next post I hope to show you some of the more modern quilts we saw at the quilt show. Many were amazing and all were inspiring.